• 25 Nov 2014 /  Read

    So, like, remember The Dark of the Forest, that slasherific comic book from dead-teen enthusiasts Freaktown Comics?

    Well, they’re back for a second bout of stacked up expired teens in Slashermania:

    The plot is thus:

    1983. Troubled teens from New York and Los Angeles are taken to a summer camp facility to be trained as counsellors and mix safely with other people their own age.  Little do they know they are being watched by an audience hungry for sex & violence. They are the designated victims for a bizarre contest of murder and mayhem –


    Masked maniacs from across the USA, Canada, Italy & the UK compete in various categories: Best Male Solo Death! Best Female Solo Death! Coitus Interruptus! Sin Punishment!Most Creative Kill! Biggest Multiple Death! The coveted Slasher of the Year award!

     “And the slashie goes to…”

    Slashermania is written by Russell Hillman, with pencils by Ron Joseph, inks by Jake Isenberg, colours by Harry Saxon and letters by Sergio Calvet

    The trailer is thus:

    The Kickstarter page is here.

    Summer camp. Sexy teens. An army of masked and/or costumed psychos… Whatcha waiting for!?


  • 20 Nov 2014 /  Reviews



    “The nightmare isn’t over.”

    Director: Rick Rosenthal / Writers: John Carpenter & Debra Hill / Cast: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Charles Cyphers, Jeffrey Kramer, Lance Guest, Hunter Von Leer, Nancy Stephens, Pamela Susan Shoop, Dick Warlock, Gloria Gifford, Tawny Moyer, Ana Alicia, Leo Rossi, Ford Rainey.

    Body Count: 10-13 (depending on who’s counting)

    Laughter Lines: “You need their parents permission to make a statement, if you can’t find their parents, get a statement anyway.”


    Lovers of this sequel (and that guy who stalks its IMDb message board claiming it’s better than the original and proclaiming anybody who doesn’t agree to be a moron) may question why it never featured in the Top 100 here. Well, wonder no more as we enter the topsy-turvy world of Halloween II

    Things begin so well, picking up from the moment Doc Loomis shoots Michael Myers out of the window at the Doyle house. When he sees Michael has vanished, he hits the streets looking for him. Meanwhile, the cops and reporters arrive on the scene as word spreads as to the murders… Michael is using backyards to escape and find Laurie, who’s been whisked off to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital.

    Carnage breaks out in town, Loomis misidentifies a trick or treater as Myers, who is subsequently hit by a squad car and burnt to a cinder (and turns out to the crush Laurie had mentioned to Annie!). All the while, Laurie is put into an unguarded room at the world’s emptiest hospital, and it’s not long before Michael works out where she is.

    Thus, the knife fodder in Halloween II comes in the form of the hospital staff: Sexy nurses, horny paramedics, dumpy security guards. Unusually for an 80s slasher film, it’s the middle stalk n’ slash act that is the least interesting here. The cast of victims are largely indistinguishable, with so little dialogue bandied out between them, there’s nobody really to feel sorry for when they bite it. And it features that most annoying quirk in horror: People who might have died. Jimmy. Gone, or not gone? He was absent at the end, as per Paul in Friday the 13th Part 2, so I’m voting gone.

    Halloween II also carries an erring sexist undertone: Male victims are killed quickly and forgettably or off camera, whereas the young nubile nurses are subjected to longer, far more voyeur-heavy demises. The reactive element to the box office bell ringing of Friday the 13th and its gorier imitations is evidently strived for here, with more blood than atmos, and the less savory genre elements ticked off in order: There are boobs, drugs, and lots of wandering off to investigate strange sounds. The original film may have invented half of these tropes, seeing them approached in such a blase way here is just sad.

    Things eventually come down to Laurie on the run through the hospital basement and car park in a series of near-misses that simply shift what happened in the Wallace house to a new locus. While that’s going on, Dr Loomis has learnt that Laurie is actually Michael’s other sister, and speeds off to the hospital. A decent showdown ensues and the story comes to a very final end. One would think.

    Carpenter and Hill’s script is as weary as Curtis appears to be of playing the same final girl role for the fifth or sixth time (and her wig sucks); Pleasence throws himself in admirably, but the crowded supporting cast blur into their one-note roles without leaving much of an impression.

    Functional and occasionally brilliant (possibly the inserts Carpenter supposedly directed to amp up the violence in post production) but so off-kilter with the excellence of the original that it could only ever disappoint, though something of a minor masterpiece compared to the bewildering Halloween III.

    Blurbs-of-interest: Curtis returned in Halloween H20 and Resurrection, plus was already in Prom Night, Terror Train, Road Games, and The Fog; Pleasence came back for all Michael Myers Halloweens until his death after shooting the sixth. He was also in Alone in the Dark and Phenomena; Nancy Stephens returned for Halloween H20; Jeffrey Kramer and Lance Guest both appeared in Jaws movies (1/2 and The Revenge, respectively).

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  • 15 Nov 2014 /  Lists

    Having done this for Friday the 13th some while ago, it’s now Freddy’s turn (then Michael, don’t get panicky). So mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the awesome-est of them all…?

    Of course, Freddy is the best character in the franchise, but that’s predictable, so he – like Jason and Mrs Voorhees in the previous countdown – won’t feature here.


    Kincaid // Dream Warriors & The Dream Master

    “Big tough bad ass” Kincaid says motherfucker a lot and tells a fellow ward inmates in Elm Street 3 that’s he’ll outlast them all – and he’s nearly right. Breaking the ‘black guys always die first’ trope in that film, he is one of three survivors, only to die first in the next film! Given with one hand, taken away with the other. Whatever, he’s proof that Elm Street was a franchise toying with the usual conventions: In any other 80s slasher film, he’d have likely been done in.


    Hall Monitor // The Original

    Who is this girl? Is she even real? Why would she buy that sweater? I like her bunches. Hall Monitor girl only appears for a few precious seconds but she’s awesome for each of them, and she leads in Nancy’s excellent line: “Screw your pass!”


    Lisa // Freddy’s Revenge

    Proto-Tiffany suburban high school queen Lisa (Kim Myers) has a bit of a Streep look to her, don’tcha think? While balancing popularity n’ stuff, Lisa befriends and attempts to heterosexualise new boy Jesse, who is being tormented by ‘the monster who wants to come out of him’ – Freddy. Only a kiss from Lisa can save the day!


     Creepy Child // Dream Warriors

    Irrespective of whether or not he was a kiddie-fiddler, Krueger murdered children before he was killed, and in turn, they crop up in the dreams of the Last of the Elm Street Children, such as this sweet little blonde girl, who says cryptic and spooky things to Patricia Arquette as she runs through a scary dream. Creepy Child is probably the best of the Creepy Children.


    Philip // Dream Warriors

    At last, a boy! Sensible Phil is possibly the most intelligent of the psyche ward kids in Elm Street 3, he makes a valid point to the doctors, which they ignore. But his predilection for sleep walking and puppet-craft is capitlised upon by Freddy, who turns him into a human marionette, using his veins for strings, and then drops him off the top of a tower.


    Dokken // Dream Warriors (sort of)

    Elm Street stans should doubtlessly be familiar with the high camp video for the title song Dream Warriors, by spandex metal band Dokken, who, in the said video, save Patricia Arquette and defeat Freddy with the high-pitched squealings and frankly amazing facial expressions of lead vocalist Don Dokken. If you’ve not seen it, go to YouTube this very minute!


    Elaine Parker // The Dream Master

    Kristen’s socialite mom first turns up in Dream Warriors, but comes back for more in the fourth movie, where she’s even more outrageously overbearing and hilarious. A real symbol of the cruelty of Freddy: the guilty adults are (usually) allowed to live and suffer the deaths of their children for their crime. Played by Brooke Bundy, mother of Tiffany Helm, the supreme Violet from Friday the 13th Part V, this still is my favourite Elaine moment: “Kristen! Get away from that house! Andale!”


    Marge Thompson // The Original

    From one guilty mama to another, Nancy’s alcoholic mom is one of the most camptastic characters in horror history. The first adult to finally cave in and ‘fess up to what they all did to Freddy Krueger, this only happens after Nancy’s friends start dropping like flies and Nancy begins telling mom uncanny details about her recurring dreams… Plus she smokes in a hospital. Rebel.


    Coach Schneider // Freddy’s Revenge

    Nasty, pervy, gum-chewin’ high school gym teacher Schneider (Marshall Bell) likes to punish the twinks in his classes, and takes a particular liking/dislike to Jesse, Freddy’s chosen conduit for carnage in Elm Street 2. The psychosexual undercurrent operating in the film has Jesse ‘coincidentally’ end up in some odd S&M bar ordering a drink, only to be caught by leather harness-wearing Schneider, who takes him back to school for a midnight detention, where he is bound, whipped, and slashed to death just as the shower heads spurt foamy water in the most unsubtle reference to ejaculation you could hope to find…


    Kristen // Dream Warriors

    Although she returns for the next film, Patricia Arquette is the definitive Kristen, the successor to Nancy’s mantle who has the power to suck other sleeping people into one combined dream, thus allowing them to team up against Freddy. Tuesday Knight did a good job of carrying on the torch (Arquette was pregnant and couldn’t return). Best moment: Flipping out at Dr Simms, “You stupid bitch! You’re killing us!”


    Sheila // The Dream Master

    Sweet nerdy Sheila is, like Debbie, on the periphery of the nightmare-plagued group in Elm Street 4, not really that concerned with the deaths of the friends-of-a-friend until weepy heroine Alice inherits Kristen’s dream-suck power (ooh-err) and practically serves her up to Freddy, who, ahem, “sucks” her to death during a science exam. Her Janet Jackson-lite vibe and oversized glasses make her the type of final girl I’d prefer for a change…


    Taryn // Dream Warriors

    Recovering junkie Taryn is “beautiful and bad” in her dreams. Alas, that’s not enough to save her from Freddy, though she does put up a good fight before succumbing to his modified finger knives: Druggie filled needles . Fortunately for actress Jennifer Rubin, she got to don the heroine role in the following year’s Bad Dreams, in which she plays a girl who is stalked in her slumber by a psycho who wants to kill her. Uhh…


    Nancy Thompson // The Original & Dream Warriors

    Well, it should surprise nobody really that Freddy’s ultimate nemesis is the numero uno non-undead character from the series. From her humble beginnnings as nightmare-plagued teenager with exponentially big, dry hair, to leading the Dream Warriors, and then even coming back as Heather Langenkamp for the fourth-wall busting New Nightmare. Nancy, you’re the best!


    So nobody from The Dream Child, Freddy’s Dead, New Nightmare (excluding Heather, sort of), Freddy vs Jason or the remake make the cut. Quelle surprise.

    And it’s certainly all girl power isn’t it? C’mon guys, Glenn almost made it, but Dr Gordon/Rick/Dan etc? Zzzzzz. The chicks certainly rule this dream.

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  • 10 Nov 2014 /  Reviews



    A.k.a. Horror Game Movie; Scissors; Gawi

    Director/Writer: Byeong-ki Ahn / Cast: Gyu-ri Kim, Ji-won Ha, Jeong-yun Choi, Jun-Sang Yu, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-yeong Ju, Jun-Jeong.

    Body Count: 6


    About the 500th Ring-inspired horror film to come from the East, but fused with slasher movie rules and a story very similar to the same country’s/same year’s Record, concerning a clique of young friends with a dreadful secret that literally comes back to haunt them.

    The first forty minutes’ groundwork builds the story, concerning the suicide of Kyung-ah, an introvert member of the gang, who was revealed to be the legendary jinxed child of a small town where a couple of the friends used to live, and where rotten luck befell everyone around the girl.

    When her best friend – understandably upset at the betrayal – asks her to keep out of her life, Kyung-ah throws herself from the top of a building and dies… or does she? Two years down the line, guilty-party Sun-ae, who revealed the truth in the first place, returns from a stint in a US institution, believing that Kyung-ah is haunting her and looking for revenge on the group. Meanwhile, sweet natured heroine Hye-jin recurrently encounters the child-ghost of her old friend, and the ancillary members of the group begin dying in strange ways.

    While the plot is certainly competent and more imaginative than Record, it sometimes becomes confusing as to what era we’re in and, once the eventual truth surrounding Kyung-ah’s death is revealed, regurgitates several questions and highlights the liberties taken by writer/director Ahn.

    The spooky twist ending also requires a vast suspension of belief and mirrors the ends of contemporary J-Horror successes such as The Grudge and Phone. Now if we could only marry the visual atmosphere created here with the ‘classic’ American genre rules, that would be the stuff dreams are made of.

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  • 05 Nov 2014 /  Reviews



    Directors/Writers: Adam Brooks & Matthew Kennedy / Writer: Conor Sweeney / Cast: Paz de la Huerta, Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Sheila Campbell, Tristan Risk, Samantha Gill, Lance ‘The Snake’ Cartwright, Jerry Wasserman, Udo Kier.

    Body Count: 10

    Laughter Lines: “In ancient Roman times, editors were considered to be bridges to the netherworld…”


    Disclaimer: I watched The Editor at the FrightFest Allnighter at approximately 5am the other week. Fatigue – and the imprint of boredom left by previous feature, The Pact II - was setting in, so there maybe a few lapses in memory. #forgiveness.

    ‘Parody’ has become a bit of a dirty word in film, thanks almost entirely to the tsunami of crap that washed ashore under the name Epic/Disaster/Date Movie. Slapdash productions poking fun at current trends, thus rendering them horrifically dated within weeks.

    In horror, Scary Movie was the prime culprit, albeit not the first; in the 80s there was Student Bodies, Wacko, Class Reunion, Pandemonium, Saturday the 14th and so on. We could blame Airplane! if it weren’t so damn good.

    So to call The Editor a parody of the Italian giallo movement wouldn’t be quite right: There are no zeitgeist smug jokes, fart gags, and – crucially – the filmmakers are clearly creating a love letter rather than a complacent piss-take.

    Giallo is a sub-genre of horror I’m not that well-versed in: Argento and Bava is about as deep as I’ve dipped my toes, but that didn’t matter, I’ve seen enough to be able to appreciate most of the laughs here, and who would ever tire of black-gloved mystery killers toting chainsaws in the foreground while oblivious couples go at it a few feet out of focus?

    Co-Director/Writer Brooks plays the title role, as Rey Ciso, a once-glorified editor who cut his own fingers off and is now (or then, if we’re to assume this is set in the 70s or 80s from the mise-en-scene) consigned to editing tacky horror films with a glove of wooden fingertips.

    When the cast and crew of his present production begin to get murdered on and around the set, the local inspector (other co-director/writer Kennedy) is convinced Rey is behind it, as each victim is found with wounds mimicking the missing fingers. Suspects for the rest of us include the pushy producer, Rey’s has-been actress wife (“If he died, I would cry and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry…”), his pretty apprentice editor, and an ambitious actor. In fact, it could be just about anybody.

    The murders continue, including axings, knifes to the throat, chainsawing, all interspersed with amusing flashbacks of bizarre al fresco lovemaking, clips of the dreadful looking film, spiders that appear from nowhere, and what giallo would be complete without the awful dubbing?

    Some moments are truly inspired, from the fashions to background personnel walking around naked (as we’re led to believe was so common in Italy in the late 1970s), the mistranslations and badly delivered dubbing (“She was the best! The best! The beeeeeest!”) and awful effects work of the film-within-the-film.

    Toss in hysterical-blindness, car chases, a bro-mance that becomes strangely homoerotic, surprising male nudity, and you have everything you’d expect from the genre.

    The only flaw lies in its length. The Editor is in need of a bit of an edit, cruising past the 100 minute mark and, while the best film of the five I sat through at the Allnighter, it began to drag towards the climax. So I want to see it again, which is more than can be said for most horror films of late. There’s a lotta love in this film, and seemingly a lotta love for it. Deservedly so.

    Shots of this composition never get boring

    Blurbs-of-interest: Paz de la Huerta was in The Tripper; Jerry Wasserman was in Christina’s House and Scarecrow; Udo Kier was in Pray for Morning.

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